An APP that can save women from assaults.

The next time you are stepping out late you can keep your loved one informed about your location with a single tap on your phone. Help Me, an Android platform-based mobile application offers two services — I am here: regular updates about the location of the person and I need help: panic messages. The regular updates about the location and the panic messages reach a maximum of five persons listed as parents, family members or guardians by the user.

In view of the increasing number of crimes against women and senior citizens living away from their children, OnMobile, a mobile value-added services company, has created an app that will come in handy to women, parents and senior citizens.

“Parents who wish to keep track of where their kids are can install the app on the phone and keep it turned on to receive updates from their children,” explained Archana Anand, director – information and entertainment services, OnMobile. The app can be customised to change the distress messages it sends to the parents or family members. A senior citizen who requires medical attention can tweak the message such that the app sends out a message calling for medical attention and the like.

I am here service sends frequent location updates every 10 minutes and the message will contain an address which will pinpoint location up to the street level and a link to Google Maps with the location.

I need help button also raises a loud alarm which has no effect of volume or profile of the device. It also sends out SMSes to the selected CUG (Closed User Group) – “Help me. I am in danger”. And the mobile will constantly try to call the number of the first guardian saved on the app. This app can also be customised to send different messages by the users. For eg: the elderly in need of medical attention can change the message to “Need medical attention”.

Forgotten..

Almost all the 3,500-odd sex workers confined to the 96 brothels in the Capital’s red-light area on Shraddhanand Marg — earlier referred to as G.B. Road — have a tale of exploitation and human rights abuses to narrate.

The government and the police are far from taking action against brothel owners. The sex workers say they are “treated as the Capital’s shame — brushed under the carpet, only to be remembered when required”.

“Poverty and the promise of a decent life for our children keeps us here,” says Savitri at a government-aided health care centre in Lahori Gate.

She and a group of other workers came to the centre at 4.30 p.m., previously an impossible time for the women to be out of the brothels.

“Four o’ clock onwards clients start coming in, but these days the steep price rise has hit the business hard. This is the first time in 10 years that I haven’t had a customer in four days,” says a nervous-looking Mamta (36). She came to Delhi from Andhra Pradesh a decade ago and has three daughters and elderly parents to support back home.

“I am a mother of three young girls who I have left behind in Andhra Pradesh with my old parents. I know how ruthless life can be. Life here on G.B. Road is only about making money,” she says.

Lata came to Delhi when she was only five years old and was pushed into the flesh trade at the young age of 11. She has no hope of things changing for the better any time soon. “During elections, politicians and parties of all colour and shape come to meet us promising the world and more. We are forgotten immediately after the circus is over,” quips the 48-year-old.

Lata is angry that the violence and torture sex workers are subjected to and the lives they are forced to lead go unnoticed. “The sex workers and their children here have no rights. Be it access to nutritious and assured supply of food, security (financial/physical), education and health care facilities, crèche for our children, schools or playground, none is available. There are no fixed working hours and social interaction with the outside world is almost non-existent. We are discriminated against on the grounds of our profession.”

“We are confined to our rooms for years at a stretch. We are not allowed to step out even to see a doctor. It is only when the brothel owners are sure that we have nowhere else to go that they allow us out. Where have the law, politicians and police been all these years?” Lata asks.

Today she lives on the streets after being thrown out by her brothel owner. “I am old now and don’t bring in any business,” she says. “Now I have no rights as a worker or as a human being. Worse, I have no social security. Sex trade is a reality and because it is not legalised we are exploited at all levels.”

Sex workers across the country have long been demanding that their trade be legalised so that the women can have better quality of life.

Khairati Lal Bhola (85) of the Bhartiya Patita Uddhar Sabha, a non-government organisation that works with sex workers across the country, says: “There are 1,100 red light areas in India and 23 lakh sex workers with 54 lakh children living there. The income of these sex workers is shared bykothamalins, touts, police and others in the system. The sex worker gets only 25 per cent of her income and that too is often spent on medical treatment and rations. Almost all of them lead a hand-to-mouth existence. If sex trade is legalised, then there can be a greater chance for these women to earn more.”

Previously, the Supreme Court constituted a committee of legal experts to look into the cause of sex trade and suggest ways to bring this population into the national mainstream. “So far there has been no concrete outcome from this group,” Mr. Bhola says.

He says commercial sexual exploitation today is not purely brothel-based but has spread everywhere – residential areas, hotels and clubs. “With the advancement of technologies and changing global scenario, sex trade has emerged in diverse forms.”

Rishi Kant of non-government organisation Shakti Vahini, which works in the area of anti-trafficking, said: “The steep rise in human trafficking is because of several social factors including poverty, illiteracy, natural calamities and rapid globalisation. Human trafficking works strictly on demand and supply and is a basket of crime which violates several laws and rights. Currently there is no authentic database for human trafficking and it continues to be difficult to ascertain how many women are affected. Also corruption and strong inter-State/country network of suppliers and demand makes the circle very vicious and unbreakable for women.”

With the Delhi High Court stepping in earlier this week and seeking “information on the number of rescue operations undertaken, the total number of girls rescued and how many FIRs have been lodged so far,” many believe things will change while others remain sceptical. Mamta says: “I truly hope that the direction to the Delhi Police to also take action against those not registering FIRs following rescue of girls would bring about a real change.”

Success Story of July: Electricity from stored water

Yes, says Chalasani Veerabhadra Rao, a resident of Nuzvid

Can electricity be generated from impounded (stored) water? Yes, says Chalasani Veerabhadra Rao, a resident of Nuzvid in Krishna district. He is not an engineer, but he says that the mechanical efficiency of a turbine can be made more then 100 per cent using the Archimedes principle of levers. Add Bernoulli’s principle to the pot and you have a turbine that acts like a “perpetual motion machine” (PMM) type III.

In layman’s terms, once Mr. Rao’s turbine reaches an optimum speed it produces more electricity than what is required to pump the water to keep it running. Water stored in a tank is pumped at a very high speed until the turbine reaches the optimum speed. After the optimum speed is reached the turbine produces power enough to run the pump and even more. The excess power is power generated and can be transmitted.

According to the Law of Thermodynamics, a percentage of energy is lost whenever energy changes form. In hydel power generation potential energy (water pressure) is converted to kinetic energy (electricity). So the mechanical efficiency is never 100 per cent as per the law.

Large modern water turbines operate at mechanical efficiency of greater than 90 per cent, but never greater than 100 per cent as Mr. Rao is claiming. K L University Department of Mechanical Engineering professor Shyam Prasad told The Hindu that man has used water turbines for various purposes, but the principals of Archimedes and Bernoulli have not been used to improve their efficiency.

In the absence of mathematical proof, experiments have to be conducted for ratifying the theory. The big impediment for Mr. Rao to prove his theory experimentally is the prohibitive cost. The heavy duty pumps required to achieve the high velocities are very expensive, with the cost running to nearly Rs. one crore.

If Mr. Rao’s invention works the world will be a different place. Every village can have its own power plant and there will be no question of transmission losses. Ironically, all efforts to get his theory ratified by scientific institutions have failed. There has been no reply to letters he wrote to other organisations to check his theory. He has written to Sam Pitroda too, but there has been no reply, but just an acknowledgement.

Pending application

An application for the patenting of the invention is pending for over a few years. “The government spends so much money on research. A couple of crores is nothing considering the impact of the experiment,” Prof. Shyam Prasad says. The Tech Brief ‘Create the Future Design Contest’ conducted by the publishers of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine has, however, listed Mr. Rao’s invention for all to see and follow up.